The Boy and the Sea Dragon
Chapter Twenty One
Naming a New Dragon
Xianjeng turned left. He flew out over the ocean. He flew until Zuangeng notified him of his hunger. Xianjeng landed in the water. Water sprayed out from him as he glided to a stop. He turned his head toward Zuangeng. He said, “Hold your breath. We are going under to see what we can find.”
Zuangeng had sat up. He thought for a while. He said excitedly, “Hey, Xianjeng. Watch this!”
He got on his hands and knees. He said the spell. He turned into a small blue sea dragon. He said, “How is this?”
Xianjeng said, “Mighty impressive. You seem to have learned some magic. while you were there.”
Zuangeng admitted, “Only two spells. That was all Petra’s father would teach me.”
Xianjeng said, “At your age, you are lucky he taught you that much. I hope, he taught you some rules along with the spells.”
Zuangeng said, “That was all I wanted to learn, anyway. Yes, he taught me the rules. All three of them drilled the rules into me.”
Xianjeng warned him, “As you grow, watch it being a dragon. Do not let yourself grow any bigger than an adult human. If you do grow bigger than that, you will be unable to return to a human form.”
Zuangeng said, “Yes, sir. I’ll be careful.”
Xianjeng said, “When you’re a dragon, you will need a dragon name. From now on, as a dragon, you will be called ‘Ciyonaung’. Be careful of who you allow to know your abilities. Only, your most trusted humans should know of it. We may go to depths where there is no light. As a dragon, your eyes will be able to generate light you can see by.”
“Groovy,” was all Zuangeng said.
Xianjeng continued, “You will be able to transform parts of the body as needed. I hope you, also, learned the spell to reverse this one, too.”
“Yes, I learned that spell, too,” Zuangeng said.
Xianjeng said, “Let only us, dragons know your dragon name. Are you ready, Ciyonaung?”
Ciyonaung said, “Yes, sir. I am ready.”
Xianjeng dove under water. Ciyonaung held his breath. He barely went under with Xianjeng. Ciyonaung started to float off Xianjeng’s back. He was used to staying on Xianjeng’s back. This time, he could find no way of holding on. He panicked. He struggled to the surface. Xianjeng noticed Ciyonaung’s fear. He surfaced beside Ciyonaung. Xianjeng said, “What’s the problem?”
“I wasn’t expecting to leave your back like that,” Ciyonaung complained.
“There is nothing to worry about,” Xianjeng reassured Ciyonaung.
Xianjeng advised, “To control buoyancy, swallow or expel water. Swallow water to sink or expel to rise. You have wings, use them. To breath underwater, open your mouth and gill slits. Let the water flow through. Ready now?”
“I think so,” Ciyonaung said. He was not too sure if he was.
“Let’s try this, again,” Xianjeng said.
They dove under together. This time, Ciyonaung was not on Xianjeng’s back. Ciyonaung tried swallowing some water. He found that it did help. He spread his wings and flew. He found it to be exhilarating. He thought to himself, “Whee.”
He tried several stunts as he flew. He did some rolls and loops. Xianjeng flew up behind him. He nipped Ciyonaung’s tail. Like his own tail, Ciyonaung’s was like a shark’s tail. Ciyonaung’s hind legs had become fins. His front legs had become dolphin fins. They surfaced.
Ciyonaung said, “What is the meaning of nipping me?”
Xianjeng said, “To calm you down. Get to know the ocean’s character! Know the currents before you do any more stunts!”
“Yes, sir,” Ciyonaung said.
They submerged again. Ciyonaung flew along side of Xianjeng. They swallowed water to gain more depth. They flew through the water looking for prey.
They swam deeper. It was getting darker. They reached a depth that reminded Ciyonaung of sunsets and sunrises. Ciyonaung looked down. Blackness was all that was visible. He looked up. A faint light could be seen. His eyes adjusted to the light level. Faint objects appeared. The objects swam around. They looked faintly like fish. They were darker on top. They tended to disappear into the black depths. They were, also, light on the bottom. They tended to disappear into the light. His eyed lit up. The objects came into better view. They were fish. They used dark colors on the upper half. They used light colors on the bottom half. His eyes grew dark. The fish disappeared.
Xianjeng led him into the pitch dark depths. Their eyes adapted to the dark. Ciyonaung was amazed at what he saw in the dark. It was like looking up at the night sky. Specks of light, tiny dots and sometimes even lines came into view. Unlike the stars, these lights moved around. Some blinked on and off. A few jerked around. His eyes glowed He saw better.
The light from his eyes showed some creatures he had never seen before even in his wildest dreams. The lights came from various forms of fish. Some of the lines came from some fish that were long. They had snouts that were long and thin. Other fish were short. They had big fronts and short, small tails. Their mouths were lined with needle like teeth. They had a long, thin protuberances on their foreheads. The end dangled in front of their mouths and glowed. They jerked the ends. There were other forms as well.
He felt the water pressing on him. His body adjusted to the pressure.
They continued to descend into deeper water. They hit a boundary beyond which Xianjeng refused to go any further. They floated horizontally at this depth. They folded their wings. It seemed to Ciyonaung that Xianjeng was expecting something.
Ciyonaung looked down into the depths below. A light was approaching them. The light turned into a line that formed an outline of a large creature. It came within the limit of their lights. Ciyonaung could swear that it was another dragon. The head was similar to Xianjeng’s. The eyes were bigger and did not glow like theirs. The body was more like a serpent. It had no wings. It had fins like a shark. The two rows of back fins were bigger than Xianjeng’s. Its thick, whip-like tail undulated from side to side as it swam. It leveled out just below them. It floated with them.
Ciyonaung heard some rumbling in the water. It sounded like the two dragons were exchanging words. He could not make out what the conversation was about. The strange dragon disappeared into the depth.
Xianjeng spread his wings. He circled around to head in another direction. Ciyonaung spread his wings. He followed Xianjeng. They flew for a while. They ran into a large squid. Xianjeng went into attack mode. He came close. Ciyonaung stayed back to watch. They squid noticed Xianjeng. It shot a large cloud of black ink. The cloud completely hid it. When the cloud had dispersed, the squid was no where to be found.
They continued on. They ran into another squid. Ciyonaung followed Xianjeng’s example. They were successful. They got a hold on the squid at the same time. Xianjeng grabbed it near the head with his mouth. Ciyonaung grabbed it near the tail the same way. Together, they shook the squid until it tore in half. Xianjeng got a larger portion. Ciyonaung watched his eat his half before attempting to eat his own. He duplicated the motion. He got the tail end in his mouth. He worked the piece down his throat. He found that it went down with no difficulty.
They flew back up to the surface. When they came to the depth where there was light, Ciyonaung found himself blinded for a while. When his vision cleared, he continued up, his eyes adjusting to the growing brightness. They broke surface. They floated with their heads up. Ciyonaung said with enthusiasm, “That was really something exciting. I never knew such creatures existed at such dark depths. What was that creature you were talking to way down there? A dragon?”
Xianjeng answered, “Yes, Ciyonaung. That was a dragon. It can go deeper than we could ever go. At the same time, it can not go above a certain depth, either. We met it at that boundary for both of us.”
“Why,” Ciyonaung asked.
Xianjeng warned him, “If you and I were to go any deeper, we would have been crushed under the pressure of the water. If that dragon had gone any further up, he would expand and eventually explode from the lack of pressure.”
“Oh,” Ciyonaung said. He said the other spell. He returned to his former shape. Zuangeng breast stroked to Xianjeng. He climbed onto the dragon’s back.
“I’m tired, now,” Zuangeng said. He laid down on his stomach, full after that squid. He folded his arms. He laid his head on his arms. Soon, he was asleep. Xianjeng thought that he would do the same thing. He laid his head on the water surface. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Late that day, they woke up. Xianjeng said, “It’s time for us to continue our journey, Zuangeng.”
“Alright,” Zuangeng said. He made his usual preparations. Xianjeng flew into the air. He turned into the direction he needed to head in.
Three days after Zuangeng left the island, the Serikua pulled into harbor. Captain Esiada had all but the flying jib, mizzen and the fore and main topsails furled. The ship docked. The dockworkers tied it to the wharf. The crew furled the remaining sails. Captain Esiada gathered the papers and money he needed. He walked ashore.
He walked across the road to the dock office. He turned in the paperwork. He exited and walked to the ship. Iyoseching gave him a copy of the manifest. A crew of dockworkers showed up.
The dockworkers and the Serikua crew unloaded the necessary cargo. Captain Esiada stood on the dock by the cargo gangplank. He checked the cargo against the manifest he held. After all was unloaded, the cargo was warehoused. Captain Esiada received his payment. He paid his crew. He gave them shore leave.
Captain Esiada took shore leave, himself. He exited the shipyard district. He entered the marketplace. He walked the streets. He headed toward a particular shop. He spotted a poster on a pole at one corner. He stopped to look at and read it. The picture and description reminded him of Zuangeng. He tore the poster off. He rolled it up. He continued walking, carrying it.
He came to Von Davildaa’s. He walked into the shop. He turned left. He walked to the counter. Gunthar saw him. He said gleefully, “Well, hello, Esiada. Is there something I can help you with?”
Captain Esiada greeted him with, “Hello, Gunthar. There is something you can explain to me.”
He put the poster on the counter. He unrolled it. He turned it around. He said pointing to it, “You can explain this!”
Gunthar looked at the poster. He said, “Why, don’t we talk about it over supper tonight, my place.”
“All right,” Captain Esiada agreed. They went on to other business.
That evening, Captain Esiada walked to Gunthar’s house. They ate supper. They walked to the living room. Petra and Hans joined them. They sat. Gunthar and Captain Esiada drank brandy. Captain Esiada said, “About this thief! I want to know what you know about him, Gunthar.”
Gunthar said, “You know, we kill thieves irregardless of age in this country. You, also, know how I feel about that law. I’ll let Petra start since he met him first.”
Petra said, “Hans and I actually met him at the same time. We were out in a boat on the ocean that day. A boy fitting that description swam to our boat. He spoke some strange language he called Cingalia. He called himself Zuangeng. We took him ashore and parted ways. Next thing we knew, he was being chased and called a thief. We told Dad about it.”
Gunthar said, “When I met Zuangeng, he was being chased. I grabbed him. We took him to live with us. He told me that a dragon brought him here. At least, he knew Dragonese. We taught him our language.”
Captain Esiada said, “We lost someone with that name. He fits that description. Why haven’t I seen him? I need to see if he is the one.”
Petra said, “I’m sorry; but, he left three days ago.”
Captain Esiada said, “I have some business to keep me here for a couple days. After that, I’ll go look for him. I hope he is still alive.”
Petra said, “He was pretty much alive when he left. He left with a dragon. I don’t think the dragon would kill him. The dragon, even, defended him from a mob bent on killing him.”
“Convicted and sentenced without a trial. That is a pity,” Captain Esiada commented.
Gunthar said, “It’s a shame that it happens. Stay with us while you are here. We have a spare bedroom.”
Captain Esiada accepted the invitation. Petra showed him to the spare bedroom. Petra said, “This is where Zuangeng slept when he was here.”
Captin Esiada walked into the room. He found Zuangeng’s goggles sitting in the dresser.
The next morning, they ate breakfast. Captain Esiada said, “I found a pair of goggles. They look like they belong to my lost one.”
Petra said, “The boy we met had them with him.”
Captain Esiada said, “If you don’t mind, I’ll take them when I leave.”
Gunthar said, “Be our guest, you can have them.”
Captain Esiada returned to the ship. He gathered some changes of clothing. He returned to the house. He settled on the room. He stayed with them for three nights. He negotiated more cargo than was originally to be taken.
Gunthar and Captain Esiada played some chess on the last night. Gunthar said, “The boy that stayed with us played some mean games for a six year old boy.”
Captain Esaida said, “I taught my boy the game. Your Zuangeng sounds like he may be my boy.”
Gunthar said, “You taught him well. Talking about teaching, I taught him a couple of spells. He insisted on it. If you do find him, you might consider sending him to school. He’ll need an education if he is to be doing magic.”
Captain Esiada said, “I knew he had it in him to do wizardry! I’ll consider doing that. What spells did you teach him?”
Gunthar said, “The spells of transformation. That was all he wanted to learn.”
The next day, cargo was loaded onto the Serikua. The crew gathered on the ship.
Captain Esiada met with them at the mizzen mast. He stood on a small wood box. He wanted the whole crew to hear him. Iyoseching was standing next to him. The crew talked among themselves.
Captain Esiada told Iyoseching that he was ready to speak. Iyoseching blew a whistle. The crew grew silent.
Captain Esiada spoke Cingalia, “I have some news that may be good. There is a possibility that Zuangeng is alive!”
A cheer went through the crew at that news. Captain Esiada waited until it died down before continuing. He continued, “He is not here, though. We will be searching for him. Look for a dragon with a boy that looks like him. Prepare to depart, men! Dismissed.”
The crew broke up. They went to work with new hope.